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Minn. Student Combats Racist Note With Social Media

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A college freshman is trying to turn a negative situation into a positive one after receiving a racist note in his dorm room.

On Sunday night, Raul Guzman came home to find a racially insensitive message on his desk at Carleton College in Northfield.

“Two lines, dark pencil scratches, underlying marks. I felt it was very hostile,” Guzman said, adding: “Obviously, I was confused and kind of shocked.”

The note read: “Get Your Mexican A– Outta Here M———-.”

He turned it into campus authorities and later discovered who wrote it.

It was a friend of a friend.

“This person said they intended it as a joke, but since it was anonymous…I didn’t take it as a joke at all,” Guzman said.

Instead, he took to social media, creating a Facebook page to generate awareness.

Within a few hours he received dozens of supportive messages.

Guzman said his ultimate hope is that the online outrage stirred by the note inspires change at Carleton and other schools.

To make sure that happens, Guzman and his friends organized a student gathering Thursday afternoon where more than 100 people showed up.

“That’s when I knew the feelings of shock, fear, anger were shared by a lot of people as well,” he said. “They were expressing their concern.”

Maribel Zag was one of them.

“As a fellow Mexican-American student, [the note] made me question whether or not I belong here, and I felt like it affected a larger community,” she said. “We were all shocked and surprised by what happened.”

Carleton College released a statement, saying: “Acts of this nature, anonymous or otherwise, are not tolerable and breach the College’s commitment to an inclusive campus.”

Dean Hudlin Wagner did not say how the student who left the note was punished.

Guzman said he would like Carleton and other colleges to create proactive programs that teach students how to better co-exist on campus.

“This isn’t something that just happens to a specific person,” he said. “It’s all around campuses at several schools.”

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